The failed war on drugs is often frustrating, tragic and wasteful.
Rarely is it so purely stupid as it is in the case of 81-year-old Margaret Holcomb, a Massachusetts woman who was growing a single pot plant in her garden so she could use medicinal marijuana for her arthritis, glaucoma and trouble sleeping.
Alerted of this dangerous criminal mastermind, the Massachusetts State Police rang up the National Guard and arranged for a military-style helicopter raid on her property in late September.
Two of Margaret’s children were having lunch at their mom’s house when they noticed armed men sneaking through her raspberry patch as a helicopter hovered overhead. Margaret herself wasn’t home, so her son, Tim Holcomb, asked the officers what they were doing. “It’s scary as hell,” he recalled of his experience watching the troops swarm his mother’s backyard.
When Tim Holcomb challenged the officers, he says, they told him not to demand a warrant or otherwise get in their way if he didn’t want to risk criminal charges.
This raid was just one of several the militarized team conducted in Margaret’s area, but her age and possession of a single plant makes it the most ridiculous. It also makes it a great test case for challenging the raid’s legality, which Margaret is willing to do in defense of her constitutional rights.
“I’m prepared to take actions if I need to,” she said. “I don’t picture them out here and putting an 81-year-old woman in jail.”
The silliest part of all this is that medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts if you get a special card from the state — though apparently Massachusetts State Police have no qualms about illegally confiscating plants even from cancer patients who have filed all the right paperwork.
Complicating matters further is the fact that full legalization for medical and recreational use (including home cultivation) is on the ballot in the state this November and looks like it will pass.
In other words, Margaret’s terrible “crime” was needing medicine a couple months before she’ll be allowed to have it without special permission from the government. It is an embarrassment to liberty that she was given any trouble over this harmless choice, and frankly an embarrassment to the officers who conducted a raid that so blatantly betrays their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.